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DEBUNKING The Bush and Obama Administrations’ Justification for Mass Surveillance

George Washington's picture





 

 

 

Preface: The Bush and Obama administrations both claimed that spying on Americans was justified by 9/11. Specifically, they said that they could have caught one of the 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego if they could have spied on phone calls on American soil.

However - as demonstrated below - that claim is totally false.

ProPublica notes:

In defending the NSA’s sweeping collection of Americans’ phone call records, Obama administration officials have repeatedly pointed out how it could have helped thwart the 9/11 attacks: If only the surveillance program been in place before Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. authorities would have been able to identify one of the future hijackers who was living in San Diego [named Khalid al Mihdhar].

 

Last weekend, former Vice President Dick Cheney invoked the same argument.

***

 

Indeed, the Obama administration’s invocation of the Mihdhar case echoes a nearly identical argument made by the Bush administration eight years ago when it defended the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

The reality is different.

Initially, an FBI informant hosted and rented a room to Mihdhar and another 9/11 hijacker in 2000.

Investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House.

As the New York Times notes:

Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence ….The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.

So mass surveillance of Americans isn't necessary, when the FBI informant should have apprehended the hijackers.

Moreover, the NSA actually did intercept Mihdhar's phone calls before 9/11.

We reported in 2008:

We’ve previously pointed out that the U.S. government heard the 9/11 plans from the hijackers’ own mouth. Most of what we wrote about involved the NSA and other intelligence services tapping top Al Qaeda operatives’ phone calls outside the U.S.

 

However, as leading NSA expert James Bamford - the Washington  Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings for almost a decade, winner of a number of journalism awards for coverage national security issues, whose articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and the only author to write any books (he wrote 3) on the NSA – reports, the NSA was also tapping the hijackers’ phone calls inside the U.S.

 

Specifically, hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi lived in San Diego, California, for 2 years before 9/11. Numerous phone calls between al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in San Diego and a high-level Al Qaeda operations base in Yemen were made in those 2 years.

 

The NSA had been tapping and eavesdropping on all calls made from that Yemen phone for years. So NSA recorded all

of these phone calls.

 

Indeed, the CIA knew as far back as 1999 that al-Mihdhar was coming to the U.S. Specifically, in 1999, CIA operatives tailing al-Mihdhar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, obtained a copy of his passport. It contained visas for both Malaysia and the U.S., so they knew it was likely he would go from Kuala Lumpur to America.

We asked  top NSA whistleblower William Binney – a highly-credible 32-year NSA veteran with the title of senior technical director, who headed the agency’s digital data gathering program (featured in a New York Times documentary, and the source for much of what we know about NSA spying) – what he thought of the government's claim that mass surveillance of Americans would have caught Mihdhar and prevented 9/11.

Binney responded:

Of course they could have and did have data on hijackers before 9/11. And, Prism did not start until 2007. But they could get the data from the "Upstream" collection. This is the Mark Klein documentation of Narus equipment in the NSA room in San Francisco and probably other places in the lower 48. They did not need Prism to discover that. Prism only suplemented the "Upstream" material starting in 2007 according to the slide.

Details here and here.

Indeed, widespread spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here, here, here  and here.

And U.S. and allied intelligence heard the 9/11 hijackers plans from their own mouths:

  • The National Security Agency and the FBI were each independently listening in on the phone calls between the supposed mastermind of the attacks and the lead hijacker. Indeed, the FBI built its own antenna in Madagascar specifically to listen in on the mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to various sources, on the day before 9/11, the mastermind told the lead hijacker “tomorrow is zero hour” and gave final approval for the attacks. The NSA intercepted the message that day and the FBI was likely also monitoring the mastermind’s phone calls
  • According to the Sunday Herald, two days before 9/11, Bin Laden called his stepmother and told her “In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” U.S. officials later told CNN that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” Indeed, before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother.
  • And according to CBS News, at 9:53 a.m on 9/11, just 15 minutes after the hijacked plane had hit the Pentagon, “the National Security Agency, which monitors communications worldwide, intercepted a phone call from one of Osama bin Laden’s operatives in Afghanistan to a phone number in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia”, and secretary of Defense Rumsfeld learned about the intercepted phone call in real-time (if the NSA monitored and transcribed phone calls in real-time on 9/11, that implies that it did so in the months leading up to 9/11 as well)

But even with all of that spying, the government didn’t stop the hijackers … even though 9/11 was entirely foreseeable.

ProPublica notes:

There were plenty of opportunities without having to rely on this metadata system for the FBI and intelligence agencies to have located Mihdhar,” says former Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who extensively investigated 9/11 as chairman of the Senate’s intelligence committee.

These missed opportunities are described in detail in the joint congressional report produced by Graham and his colleagues as well as in the 9/11 Commission report.

 

***

 

Mihdhar was on the intelligence community’s radar at least as early as 1999. That’s when the NSA had picked up communications from a “terrorist facility” in the Mideast suggesting that members of an “operational cadre” were planning to travel to Kuala Lumpur in January 2000, according to the commission report. The NSA picked up the first names of the members, including a “Khalid.” The CIA identified him as Khalid al Mihdhar.

 

The U.S. got photos of those attending the January 2000 meeting in Malaysia, including of Mihdhar, and the CIA also learned that his passport had a visa for travel to the U.S.

 

***

 

Using their true names, Mihdhar and Hazmi for a time beginning in May 2000 even lived with an active FBI informant in San Diego.

 

***

 

Let’s turn to the comments of FBI Director Robert Mueller before the House Judiciary Committee last week.

 

Mueller noted that intelligence agencies lost track of Mihdhar following the January 2000 Kuala Lumpur meeting but at the same time had identified an “Al Qaida safe house in Yemen.”

 

He continued: “They understood that that Al Qaida safe house had a telephone number but they could not know who was calling into that particular safe house. We came to find out afterwards that the person who had called into that safe house was al Mihdhar, who was in the United States in San Diego. If we had had this [metadata] program in place at the time we would have been able to identify that particular telephone number in San Diego.”

 

In turn, the number would have led to Mihdhar and potentially disrupted the plot, Mueller argued.

 

(Media accounts indicate that the “safe house” was actually the home of Mihdhar’s father-in-law, himself a longtime al Qaida figure, and that the NSA had been intercepting calls to the home for several years.)

 

The congressional 9/11 report sheds some further light on this episode, though in highly redacted form.

 

The NSA had in early 2000 analyzed communications between a person named “Khaled” and “a suspected terrorist facility in the Middle East,” according to this account. But, crucially, the intelligence community “did not determine the location from which they had been made.”

 

In other words, the report suggests, the NSA actually picked up the content of the communications between Mihdhar and the “Yemen safe house” but was not able to figure out who was calling or even the phone number he was calling from.

 

***

 

Theories about the metadata program aside, it’s not clear why the NSA couldn’t or didn’t track the originating number of calls to Yemen it was already listening to.

 

Intelligence historian Matthew Aid, who wrote the 2009 NSA history Secret Sentry, says that the agency would have had both the technical ability and legal authority to determine the San Diego number that Mihdhar was calling from.

 

Back in 2001 NSA was routinely tracking the identity of both sides of a telephone call,” [9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow] told ProPublica.

 

***

 

There's another wrinkle in the Mihdhar case: In the years after 9/11, media reports also suggested that there were multiple calls that went in the other direction: from the house in Yemen to Mihdhar in San Diego. But the NSA apparently also failed to track where those calls were going.

 

In 2005, the Los Angeles Times quoted unnamed officials saying the NSA had well-established legal authority before 9/11 to track calls made from the Yemen number to the U.S. In that more targeted scenario, a metadata program vacumming the phone records of all Americans would appear to be unnecessary.

In other words, the NSA had the technical ability and legal authority to intercept calls between Midhar and Yemen before 9/11 ... and it actually did so.

In addition,Wikipedia notes:

Mihdhar was placed on a CIA watchlist on August 21, 2001, and a note was sent on August 23 to the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) suggesting that Mihdhar and Hazmi be added to their watchlists.

 

***

 

On August 23, the CIA informed the FBI that Mihdhar had obtained a U.S. visa in Jeddah. The FBI headquarters received a copy of the Visa Express application from the Jeddah embassy on August 24, showing the New York Marriott as Mihdhar's destination.

 

On August 28, the FBI New York field office requested that a criminal case be opened to determine whether Mihdhar was still in the United States, but the request was refused.  The FBI ended up treating Mihdhar as an intelligence case, which meant that the FBI's criminal investigators could not work on the case, due to the barrier separating intelligence and criminal case operations. An agent in the New York office sent an e-mail to FBI headquarters saying, "Whatever has happened to this, someday someone will die, and the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain 'problems.'" The reply from headquarters was, "we [at headquarters] are all frustrated with this issue ... [t]hese are the rules. NSLU does not make them up."

 

The FBI contacted Marriott on August 30, requesting that they check guest records, and on September 5, they reported that no Marriott hotels had any record of Mihdhar checking in. The day before the attacks, the New York office requested that the Los Angeles FBI office check all local Sheraton Hotels, as well as Lufthansa and United Airlines bookings, because those were the two airlines Mihdhar had used to enter the country. Neither the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network nor the FBI's Financial Review Group, which have access to credit card and other private financial records, were notified about Mihdhar prior to September 11.

 

***

 

Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and Congressman Curt Weldon alleged in 2005 that the Defense Department data mining project Able Danger identified Mihdhar and 3 other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaeda cell in early 2000.

Similarly, even though the alleged Boston bombers' phones were tapped  - and NBC News reports, "under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S." - mass surveillance did not stop the other terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

In reality - despite the government continually grasping at straws to justify its massive spying program - top security experts say that mass surveillance of Americans does not keep us safe.   Indeed, experts say that mass surveillance interferes with catching bad guys.

 


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Sat, 06/22/2013 - 10:53 | Link to Comment CutOut
CutOut's picture

JOYFUL, I-DOG, BUNNYSWANSON

Why did HEART's posting frequency suddenly drop ?
Where has this 'persona' gone ?

................................................
Informed ZH readers remain curious as to why HEART repeatedly posts crap such as Boston Marathon bombing fake injuries/fake blood/crisis actors garbage which is 100% DISINFORMATION.

HEART intentionally conflates ridiculous,nonsensical Boston bombing speculation with credible information.
This a well known disinformation tactic designed to contaminate and discredit genuine factual content.
Thus HEART has confirmed he's a disinfo operative.

http://www.zerohedge.com/search/user_comments?name=the+heart
Boston Marathon bombing disinfo example #3616167

................................................
ZH is being targeted by FedGov spambots & human operatives saturating the comment sections with garbage and disinformation in addition to down voting certain posters.

They are not harmless trolls, they are professional operatives attempting to undermine and discredit ZH via multi nics & sock puppets.

Attacking this post by constant down voting speaks for itself: the shills exposed themselves.

Case closed.
...............................................

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 20:13 | Link to Comment Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

NSA whistleblower Russ Tice -- full mind blowing interview:

http://boilingfrogspost.com/wp-content/uploads/BF.0112.Tice_20130617.mp3

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 14:39 | Link to Comment NaN
NaN's picture

Mass surveillance without enforceable rules and no penalties for abuse is a massive corruption risk.

 

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 14:03 | Link to Comment sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Take a close look & listen to the items below:

http://www.prx.org/pieces/1141-we-were-on-duty

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xU4GdHLUHwU

http://letsrollforums.com/april-gallup-suing-rummy-t18347.html?s=90a1a9a6457753b84ffdc63d1362b260&p=162189

Then recall that on 9/10/01, the Pentagon's comptroller mentions that their auditing team can't account for $2.3 trillion in DoD funds, as Rumsfeld mentions in the second item.

Then on 9/11/01, an airliner crashes dead center into the west wall of the Pentagon, killing almost all of that auditing team (DIA's Financial Management group) and severely injuring the rest.

Within the next several months, offshore hedge funds will double in value, from $2 trillion to over $4 trillion.

And also on the surveillance front:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/20/fisa-court-nsa-without-warra...

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamtanner/2013/06/19/theres-a-billion-reasons-not-to-give-stores-your-zip-code-ever/


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/21/wozniak-guilty-nsa-surveillance-snowden

?http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/06/19/podcast-show-112-nsa-whistleblower-goes-on-record-reveals-new-information-names-culprits/

?And repeating that killer vid:

?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hnMPQmIPibE

?

?

 

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:59 | Link to Comment luckylongshot
luckylongshot's picture

What really amazes me is that there are still people that believe Arab terrorists were behind 9 11, despite the avalanche of evidence it was an inside job. The BBC news clip, which you can watch on youtube, announcing the collapse of building 7,  20 minutes before it collapsed and with a live feed in the background showing building 7 still standing, is just one in a long list of things that could not have happened if Arabs were responsible.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 14:08 | Link to Comment jaap
jaap's picture

a C-span caller got kicked off after explaining that the NSA knew:

 

http://dropbox.curry.com/ShowNotesArchive/2013/06/NA-523-2013-06-20/Assets/JCD%20Clips/caller%20cut%20off%20by%20cspan.mp3

 

and this one is even funnier (if it wasn't so sad):

 

http://dropbox.curry.com/ShowNotesArchive/2013/06/NA-523-2013-06-20/Asse...

 

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 19:06 | Link to Comment Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

And many, many more.  They're getting pretty adept at burying the actual questions the callers are asking.  I love the people who call daily and embarrass the hosts.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 14:02 | Link to Comment the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

but first the myth that they were fundamentalists, they were Sunnis, secular muslims. that led to the war against Islamic fundamentalists, which is going on right now in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:27 | Link to Comment kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Bottom line:

The surveillance of Americans is what would be expected by those of a rogue and criminal government determined to keep stealing and killing for their daily sustenance. And as our backs are their daily sustenance, we, the American people, are their natural enemies and hence the surveillance.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:19 | Link to Comment monad
monad's picture

#1036 New Lies for Old: How they set us up and what we can do about it

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:05 | Link to Comment Rusty Shorts
Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:47 | Link to Comment flacorps
flacorps's picture

Proposed 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

"Each public servant in the employ of the Federal Government, and all such private contractors shall at all times be monitored by video and audio surveillance adequate to the task, and their papers and electronic devices shall also be open to detailed inspection, with all such information available in real time as well as appropriately indexed and categorized and permanently archived to allow any citizen easy access to same over a freely available computer network at any time of the citizen's choosing, without any record being created with respect to the citizen accessing such information. Exceptions to such scrutiny may be granted only prospectively, and only for good cause after a full and public hearing in federal court."

Let's see how they like it. It also means the NSA wouldn't need to lay anyone off. They could be charged with doing the implementation.

Does anyone think the founders would not have leapt at the chance to implement something like this? It would have brought the role reversal they sought full circle...

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:41 | Link to Comment lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

Justice Roberts needs to respond. Have we been robbed of his good judgment because he was blackmailed? This is a monumental question with too much current relevance to be ignored. If the NSA is making all the decisions at least lets get rid of the expense of Congress and the Supreme Court...hell, do we even need a President under those circumstances?

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:01 | Link to Comment flacorps
flacorps's picture

Whoops. Moving my reply to correct spot.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:54 | Link to Comment Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

I believe his opinion on Obamacare points to coercion.  He is an extremely competent and was a highly respected attorney.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:02 | Link to Comment flacorps
flacorps's picture

Couldn't he have just been for sale? Abe Fortas was.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:22 | Link to Comment JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

Great.... just great... here I was thinkin that we finally had gotten "George" fully on board the truthout train... and suddenly he's slipped off at a siding and hitched a ride on the TransSiberian ...

in what appears to be a remake of Hammer Studios' classic HORROR EXPRESS...with GW starring as ill-starred Father Pudjardov, an apparent victim of the 'the Creature' ... his mind taken over and used by the nefarious villain in it's campaign of terror against the train passengers!

According to various sources, on the day before 9/11, the mastermind told the lead hijacker “tomorrow is zero hour” and gave final approval for the attacks. The NSA intercepted the message that day and the FBI was likely also monitoring the mastermind’s phone calls

Mastermind>9-11/...??? You means that event in which some Arab guys were whacked by Mossad in a German apartment and their passports stolen to be used in an operation Masterminded by one Dov Zakheim, CEO for 4 years prior to 9/11 of a  company that produces systems for remote control of airplanes. /// member of the Zionist PNAC group \\\ who 6 months before 9/11 became supervisor of a group of Pentagon comptrollers that had to sort out what had happened to the 2.3 trillion dollars that were missing from the Pentagon books??

George, buddy... I get a sense that we may not be on the same page here... is everything OK? Can you move your hands... send us some kind of signal... move you feet, and spell out 9-11 was an inside job in the dust or somethin?

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:09 | Link to Comment WarPony
WarPony's picture

Silverstein: "we .. they .. had. to. pull. the. bldg." WTC 7/freefall

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:38 | Link to Comment George Washington
George Washington's picture

I have moved my feet.  (I did it under the blanket so the NSA wouldn't see it...))

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:47 | Link to Comment JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

Thanks... good to know youse still 'kickin'!!!

I got kinda fond of ya after that magnificent 4 pt BOSTONTERRORERRORNERRATIVE...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/03/07/what-did-israel-know-in-advance-o...

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:53 | Link to Comment illyia
illyia's picture

Two words: Able Danger.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:05 | Link to Comment Lost Word
Lost Word's picture

The entire Lying Treasonous Establishment still falsely denying that the 9-11 attacks were orchestrated and conducted by the US Government, which conspiracy truth eliminates the proposition that Government spying could have prevented it's own conspiracy.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:47 | Link to Comment the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

you didn't mention the US born cleric the two hijackers met with in San Diego. he later fled to Yemen, and was killed in a drone attack. they were well aware of everyone involved, and Clinton could not get congressional approval to attack Bin Ladens camp in Afghanistan in 98. its all well known that the memo was on Rices desk? and the President should have read it as well.

theres a whole other web of intrigue with the salvadorans who helped the hijackers when they travelled east, and the salvadoran gang member who killed Chandra Levy, who had travelled to Israel, who was said to have known Tim McVeigh, while she was working at the Fed Bur Prisons as an "intern". Currently the man who killed her has requested a new trial, and the judge has locked it up tight because the information is "sensitive"...

the key to the Bush admin role in this is somehow tied to Levy, whose murder was blamed on Gary Condit, a blue dog Democrat who sat on the Intell Comm, (Pelosi and Harmon were fellow blue dogs, Harmon sat on the big Intell committee, was later outed by Pelosi for taking money under the table from AIPAC) Pelosi herself became speaker in 2006 and promised to run the lobbyists out of Washington but failed miserably in any of her efforts to stop funding for the war in Iraq. by then the secret war against here and other blue dogs had been won. the three of them were a political target of the Bush people, well before the election in 2000. personally attacking moderate Democrats allowed the conservatives to wage traditional debates against liberals, without meddlesome moderates trying to make deals. Clinton was also to some extent a blue dog, having moved to the middle in his second term. they crucified him.

its hard to ignore the ideological zealotry of these people, and with the Nixon connections, (rumsfled and cheney) they were perfectly fitted for all out political warfare. 9/11 really helped the cause, because prior to that Bush was seen as the manchurian president, after China took our spy plane. its also a reason to suspect Chinas role in 9/11, China shares a border with Afghanistan, where do you suppose Bin Laden was hiding all those years? lots of questions here, and pretty sure NSA knows the answers. the domestic spying bill is pretty much a legitimization of what the Bush people did prior and once they were in the WH. its not you and I they care about, its the people in Congress who were intimidated by threats both overt and subliminal. that obama wants to continue you makes you wonder, if he just sees that this is how the game is played, or he someone read him the rules after he was elected.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:36 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

Few things will cause more terror in authoritarians than opposition to, illumination of or limits placed upon their freedom to traffic society at will in any way that suits a whim

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 15:00 | Link to Comment Paveway IV
Paveway IV's picture

"...Few things will cause more terror in authoritarians..."

True, Miles. But don't underestimate authoritarians fear of angry Irish women:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnmwuRpfKr8

Daly is fierce. I wish she would run for U.S. president. 

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 19:03 | Link to Comment Miles Kendig
Miles Kendig's picture

That red hair of hers is no lie
- Micky Flynn

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:37 | Link to Comment Winston Smith 2009
Winston Smith 2009's picture

"they said that they could have caught one of the 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego if they could have spied on phone calls on American soil"

They could have stopped 9/11 with what they knew using the existing intel infrastructure prior to 9/11!

Watch:

PBS Nova: The Spy Factory (NSA)

http://video.pbs.org/video/1051968443/

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 14:31 | Link to Comment monad
monad's picture

The jackbooted gestapo thugs could have stopped that op at any time. But they're jackbooted gestapo thugs, it wasn't in their best interest.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:17 | Link to Comment Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

I will keep hammering on this but we are almost a full blown Marxist country, somewhere between the extremes of Socialism and Communism.

Here is a nice piece illustrating this.

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/061913-660610-obama-d...

Obama Rhetoric Matches That Of Old Soviet Leaders

By SVETLANA KUNIN

President Obama insists his policies are driven by a "common sense" approach. He also speaks in terms of "we the people" and "the government is us."

Such declarations are reminiscent of old Soviet posters displayed for all to see: "ALL POWER BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE" and "PEOPLE AND COMMUNIST PARTY ARE ONE."

But the real power in the USSR was in the hands of Communist Party leaders. They, in the name of the people, defined foes of centralized government as "enemies of the people."

Similarly, Obama's Department of Homeland Security has defined right-wing extremists as "those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority."

His National Security Agency has specified that in addition to gun owners and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, right-wing extremists also "may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."

Soviet bureaucrats were justified in harassing and persecuting "enemies of the people." IRS bureaucrats, empowered by NSA definitions, feel free to harass and intimidate people and groups who question administration policies.

Tea Party groups that want the government to follow the American founding documents are right-wing extremists, and pro-Israel Jewish groups need extra scrutiny by the IRS as potential terrorists.

To watch citizens in every corner of life, the Soviets relied on embedded snoops who reported on conversations and moods of co-workers and friends. The Soviets would envy the tools available to the Obama administration to spy on American citizens today.

Soviet leaders freely sacrificed citizens to reinforce their agenda, cover up incompetence and retain power. They loved to use teachable moments to demonstrate what happens to citizens who do not follow government directives.

Information accumulated on citizens was handily available and used by all forms of state media to publicly denounce, humiliate and punish non-conformists.

In the name of security, the NSA needs to use all tools available to catch terrorists. Therefore, the NSA is justified in accessing personal data of American citizens, and the Justice Department under Attorney Gen. Eric Holder spies on journalists' emails and phone conversations.

In the Obama administration's war on non-conformist media, Holder was preparing a show-trial when DOJ spied on Fox News correspondent James Rosen and his parents.

Few noticed the fate of the American Internet prodigy Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January at age of 26. In an online "manifesto" in 2008 Swartz wrote: "Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves."

Obama's Justice Department filed multiple charges against Swartz for advocating free virtual public access to information on the Internet. He faced $1 million in fines plus 35 years in prison. Was Justice also preparing a show-trial against Swartz?

Soviet Communists professed "FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR ALL HUMANITY." President Obama talks about fairness, equality and social justice.

Like Communist Party leaders in Moscow, government leaders and their acolytes in Washington lead lavish lifestyles. Soviet citizens faced constant shortages of basic necessities. Here, food stamp enrollment is up 70%.

With the implementation of ObamaCare, life in America will have even more in common with that in Soviet Russia. As members of the government had in the USSR, members of Congress will have dedicated, taxpayer-paid clinics with upscale technology and care. The rest of us will have to rely on less-expensive, low-quality medical services.

But while President Obama's use of rhetoric, social policies and intimidation has a lot in common with Soviet Communists, his administration doesn't rationalize all means of production. "If you talk to us, it turns out we're pretty common-sense folks," Obama said at a fund-raiser this month. "We don't want to tax all businesses out of business."

In fact, he needs rich patrons such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Google's Eric Schmidt. Crony capitalism as practiced by his administration has more in common with "the merger of corporate and government power" that was Benito Mussolini's approach in Italy.

Americans as a result don't need to worry about toilet paper shortages as experienced in the former Soviet Union and in communist Venezuela today. We'll have our toilet paper, just not our liberty and freedom.

• Kunin lived in the Soviet Union until 1980, working as a civil engineer. She is now a retired software developer living in Connecticut. This is the 29th column in her "Perspectives Of A Russian Immigrant" series, all of which can be found at ibdeditorials.com.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 12:29 | Link to Comment Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

And Just a reminder about government's not following their Constitutions. Here is the 1936 USSR Constitution ratified under Stalin. My point is a social contract has a counter party and if the counter party doesn't or can't hold the side accountable then the contract is a sham and should be null and void and if can't be enforced or nullified legally then the only option is force to force compliance or otherwise.

http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/russian/const/1936toc.html

Specifically Chapter 10 Article 126

ARTICLE 125. In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed by law:

  1. freedom of speech;
  2. freedom of the press;
  3. freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
  4. freedom of street processions and demonstrations.

These civil rights are ensured by placing at the disposal of the working people and their organizations printing presses, stocks of paper, public buildings, the streets, communications facilities and other material requisites for the exercise of these rights.

 

We know how well that one worked out.............

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 13:23 | Link to Comment Thisson
Thisson's picture

I think you misunderstand - that is a multiple choice test!  It's (a)(b)(c) or (d) - pick one!

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:22 | Link to Comment Widowmaker
Widowmaker's picture

No planes, no profit, no problem.  Crooked Sam has your back.

Simple as that.  Heads out of the sand yet?

FUCK NO.

Remember during the last Masters when W Buttfuck-Bush sat next to Michael Jordan?  MJ died that day from association with toxic-vomit..

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:15 | Link to Comment Payne
Payne's picture

All the intelliegence information must still be interpreted by an analyst and someone must make a reasonablly informed decision.  More garbage in the same garbage out.  Waste of money even if it is just FIAT.

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:10 | Link to Comment Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Sort of on topic a little bit of humor concerning the NSA. Funny commercial spoofing the NSA phone spying as those 800 number sex line commercials they used to run late at night.

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/14dc1b13fa/sexy-nsa-commercial-with-sas...

 

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 11:07 | Link to Comment overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

in the end NSA/.gov/elite can't find evidence against you, they have the tech to put it on your electronic toys, the old throw away gun a cop uses on the perp to get em, kiddie porn, or a hired hooker/maid, ala the IMF.

we are guilty and our judges and lawyers do as they are told. have a nice day.:)

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 10:20 | Link to Comment diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

if the slaves dont like being raped, just burn down the Reichstag- its been working for several centuries

everyone just ignore that the very system weve justified under the auspices of preventing a problem we created doesnt function as intended.

 

its loving or you are with al-qaeda

 

Sat, 06/22/2013 - 02:01 | Link to Comment benb
benb's picture

Overly suspicious I’d say…

Reichstag fires occur all the time; sometimes two or three times in the same week. Big deal.

You wear blue jeans? Carry a cellphone? Got a Ron Paul sticker on your car? Think the Federal Government is a criminal puppet show?

Thought so… only proves you’re with al Kaeda.

 

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